HARARE City council human capital director Cainos Chingombe, accused of misappropriating US$130 000 earmarked for the provision of water, sanitation, education and recreational services, was yesterday denied bail after launching a fresh freedom bid on changed circumstances.
Harare regional magistrate Mrs Marehwanazvo Gofa noted that there were no changed circumstances that warranted his freedom.
Chingombe, through his lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku had approached the court saying his co-accused Tendai Kwenda had been freed at the Supreme Court on appeal and he ought to be treated in the same manner.
Kwenda was employed as the council finance director and is facing a similar offence. In his fresh bid, Chingombe also told the court that a long period of time had lapsed since his arrest some two months ago, which warrants a changed circumstance.
He also claimed that the national lockdown, which resulted in the suspension of trials was a changed circumstance that would act in his favour.
Chingombe also offered to surrender title deeds of his property as surety.
The State led by Mr Lancelot Mutsokoti opposed to Chingombe's application, saying he had not submitted enough details that proved his circumstances were similar to those of Kwenda.
"While it is accepted that co-accused persons in similar circumstances must be treated equally, the accused has not shown in his submission how he is in similar circumstance with Tendai Kwenda.
"It is therefore most difficult to accept this as a changed circumstance as the court has not been provided with sufficient information and evidence as to the similar circumstances," he said.
Although he acknowledged that two months had lapsed since Chingombe was remanded in custody, Mr Mutsokoti said significant efforts has been made towards bringing them to trial.
He said Chingombe and Kwenda's docket was now with the National Prosecuting Authority for perusal and setting of the trial date.
Mr Mutsokoti said Chingombe failed to offer his title deeds when he initially applied for bail, disadvantaging himself in the process.
Allegations against him are that on October 30, 2014 Chingombe allegedly connived with other city executives and transferred the US$130 000 into his account from the council's Traditional Beer Levy account.
The money is not part of the general revenue of the local authority and must be only used for the community welfare as approved by the minister, according to the State.
Chingombe is alleged to have purchased a Land Cruiser Prado without the minister's or council resolution.
He also allegedly violated the council's procurement regulations, which, according to State stipulates that any procurement above US$10 000 should go through tender.
Chingombe is alleged to have purchased the Prado for US$119 000 and allegedly pocketed the balance.
He also allegedly registered the car into his personal name and the same vehicle is said to be still registered into his name.
The alleged offence was unearthed by an internal audit by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.